“When I suffer a setback, I don’t think of myself as losing, I’m simply learning how to win.” Ted Turner
There are books that I call “just one more chapter” books. That means that when you crack the spine (begin to read), you can’t put ‘em down. Suddenly hours have slipped by and you’re finishing it, having promised yourself, “I’ll just read ONE more chapter …” Call Me Ted is my latest read on that “just one more chapter” list. Here are a few snippets from his powerful autobiography .
Ted Turner has reached many goals in his 70-some years. He’s been an owner of the Atlanta Braves, the brain child for Cable TV and a 24-hour news station, Yachtsman of the Year in 1970, winner of the America’s Cup in 1977, currently the largest individual landowner in the US (with over 2 million acres), Times Man of the Year in 1991, and a 1-billion dollar donor to a United Nations Foundation in 1997. And those are just his MAJOR accomplishments.
He’s had a colorful life to say the least, but in his own words, “I’m convinced that one of the reasons I’ve been successful is that I’ve almost always competed against people who were bigger and stronger but who had less commitment and desire than I did.” That is one of the thoughts I’ve carried with me this week—commitment and desire, or passion. That combination pushes you outside of your comfort zone to create and MAKE things happen.
Ted has Eleven Voluntary Initiatives that he always carries in his pocket and shares with others whenever possible. They are too important to just summarize:
1. I promise to care for Planet Earth and all living things thereon, especially my fellow human beings.
2. I promise to treat all persons everywhere with dignity, respect and friendliness.
3. I promise to have no more than one or two children.
4. I promise to use my best efforts to help save what is left of our natural world …
5. I promise to use as little of our nonrenewable resources as possible.
6. I promise to minimize my use of toxic chemicals, pesticides, and other poisons …
7. I promise to contribute to those less fortunate …
8. I reject the use of force, in particular military force …
9. I support the total elimination of all nuclear, chemical and biological weapons …
10. I support the United Nations …
11. I support renewable energy and feel we should move rapidly to contain greenhouse gases.
Somehow I’ve looked at the world through different glasses after committing his Initiatives to memory. It has made me realize that as a party of ONE I can make a difference in my own environment! If this giant of an entrepreneur can walk the streets of Atlanta or New York City and pick up pieces of trash, so can I.
Some additional promises I’ve made by reading this book are to recycle in earnest, rid my environment of toxic chemicals AND to contribute more to those around me who are in need.
But the MAJOR take-away I received from Call Me Ted was one of his behaviors that I now think about many times a day. In his own words, “My desire to use time wisely has even extended to what I wear on my feet. For most of my adult life, I’ve never worn lace-up shoes. Most of my shoes are slip-ons, so instead of spending time stooping over tying my shoes, I do something else that’s productive.”
Talk about the minutest of details—that’s it! Every time I’ve wasted a few seconds this week I’ve been reminded that if someone who really has changed the world we live in values even the seconds of time it takes to tie his shoes. I should be placing premium value on every minute, too!
What’s your commitment to making a difference in our world? What time-saving strategies have you employed to treasure each day more? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.